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The word vision has always moved and inspired me. Having been a point guard all my life, I always prided myself on having floor vision: seeing the game, reading the defense, and setting up teammates. When I decided to attend Duke to play for Coach K, I did so because of the vision he had for Duke Basketball. When I first got to Harvard 13 years ago, I arrived with a vision of my own: to create a basketball program befitting of the world’s greatest university. I wanted for basketball to play a role in connecting our campus, and to assist Harvard President Drew Faust, and now President Larry Bacow, in our campus’s “One Harvard” mission. Since that time, I am proud to say we have achieved that vision, and that our program has educated diverse “scholars and ballers” — on and off the court.
Vision is in my DNA. Today, I’m writing about a new vision. A far more important vision. A vision that has stirred something in me.
I’m not talking about eyesight, exactly. You don’t have to have eyesight to have vision. But I am talking about all of us seeing 2020 in 20-20. I’m talking about all of us uniting around a vision to make our country, and even the world, a better place. And I’m urging our nation’s young people, the next generation, to take the lead in making it happen — because only you can do it.
One of the benefits of technology, and video in particular, is that it “opens our eyes.” It makes all of us see and feel things differently. Maybe you heard about “the George Floyd video;” but when you saw it, I bet you felt differently. In the past days we have yet again seen the deep divide that still exists in our country. We have seen the reality that race is still very much a factor in American life, and that communities of color disproportionately suffer socially, politically and economically. We have seen our nation struggle in the face of a global pandemic. We have seen a lack of compassionate leadership accelerate so many of these problems. None of this is breaking news. We have known about it. But now, we have all seen it — with “2020 vision.”
I am urging our nation’s young people to “be the change [they] want to see in the world.” I am urging young people, especially the Class of 2020, to share in my vision: a vision in which 2020 is the year we make significant progress on the road to defeat racism and systemic inequality. Call me “crazy,” but I believe we are facing this crisis at this time for a reason. When you see things in 2020, your vision is not clouded or blurred. Our vision no longer is.
Every generation has moments that define it. I believe we are in one of those moments now. Whether you are black and wealthy, white and poor, or anything in between, you have a role in this. I believe you don’t choose your destiny; destiny chooses you. Destiny has chosen. To our nation’s young people: you have been taught. Now is the time to lead. And please know, we are here to serve you.
It’s your time and it’s your turn.
I see the vision in 20-20. Do you?
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